Tomatoes + Why Doesn't the Far Left Read Literature?

Tomatoes + Why Doesn't the Far Left Read Literature?

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Author: Nathalie Quintane

Translator: Marty Hiatt

Publisher: Kenning Editions (2022)

Lauded French poet Nathalie Quintane's Tomatoes, written at the height of the infamous Tarnac affair, is a book of integrated critique, a form a literary non-fiction that prefers anecdote to theory. In Tomatoes, it turns out that the banalities of municipal politics, book festivals and vegetable gardening are saturated with all the latest advances in state repression. Quintane's irony makes demands, puts something at stake, attempts to couple more intimately an intention in the form of a sentence and an intention in the form of a life. And the intentions are insurrectionary, anti-capitalist, and poetic.

Translator Marty Hiatt couples the book with Quintane's essay "Why Doesn't the Far Left Read Literature?"—a question Juliana Spahr, in her foreword wondering what American literature means anymore, contextualizes thus: something that appears to be about being French but is also about being American and yet is not global. That something is finally just the trade in letters made to console when things get tricky, irritating, unbearable. For Anglophone readers, this book offers a challenge, where the only truly interesting books are the ones the police read? And it sends sales figures through the roof! But what to do with the desire to produce truth, for real?